A review of the potential of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), concludes that targeting the anti-inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve with VNS could be of interest in the management of patients with IBD involving the digestive tract through a non-drug therapy. About 1.5 million Americans and 2.2 million people in Europe are affected by IBD. There is a rising incidence of IBD in Western countries, supporting the hypothesis that “Westernization” of our lifestyle has led to the increased incidence and prevalence of IBD.
As concluded by Bonaz et al., VNS is an alternative to biologics such as anti-TNF but also other pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-12, IL-23, as observed in their study. Or, even as an alternative to any drug treatment, as was the case in five of the authors’ first seven patients who were naïve of treatment on inclusion.
Non-invasive neurostimulation by the transcutaneous auricular route (ta-VNS) is an alternative to invasive neurostimulation. The review article presents:
- Functional neuroanatomy of the vagus nerve
- An understanding of inflammatory bowel diseases
- Specifics on anti-inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve
- The vagus nerve at the interface of the microbiota–gut–brain axis
- Stress and the vagus nerve
- And, use of the anti-inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve for therapeutic purposes
Read the full review in Frontiers in Neuroscience